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What are some sustainable approaches to packaging?

It takes a lot of work to get a product on the market. Before it reaches your audience, your design will have seen numerous iterations of development, testing, and strategy. And there's no reason why you shouldn't use the same strict design standards on your packaging to offer your product the best launch possible. Of course, in order to ensure that your product reaches your customer safely, the functionality of your packaging design must come first. Then, for a price that makes sense to you, it should serve as a marketing tool that promotes and expresses your brand. Even though there are many factors to take into account, we try to encourage brands to examine how they can accomplish all of these goals while still being sustainable.

Designing sustainable packaging

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability: 57% of consumers are less likely to purchase goods in environmentally hazardous packaging.

If companies want to keep and attract new customers, they must adapt to this shifting mentality. So, how is this accomplished? The company model as a whole needs to be rethought in order to achieve the most drastic carbon reduction. By starting over, businesses may be able to pinpoint areas where single-use packaging is unnecessary, where less material is required, or where they may optimise a design to make reusing or recycling simpler. Companies can go one step further and optimise the materials that go into their packaging after exploring these structural adjustments. With the use of this entire systems approach, firms may find packaging design solutions that best satisfy consumers' demands for sustainability without sacrificing the usability or appeal of their present product.

The hierarchy of priorities

How do you choose the best course of action in the case? You can use the hierarchy of priorities listed below, ranked from greatest positive influence to least. This model pushes you to examine the fundamentals—your business model, the sizes and forms of your products, and the way that flat-pack packaging functions—and determine which adjustments could have the greatest impact.

Companies who are willing to revamp their offering will benefit the most from thinking about their possibilities in the following order:


To ensure that your packaging satisfies its standards while utilising the least amount of material, this calls for reevaluating your packaging and using a more sustainable design. We never upsell unnecessary things at Source because we think efficiency is the best course of action for both businesses and the environment.


Reducing the volume of material used, in addition to the number of layers of packaging, has the added benefit of improving shipping and storage.


Consider creating a package that your consumer might reuse or recycle, such as one that they could refill.


If you can use recyclable packaging materials, you can make the most of them by including a sustainable design that makes recycling simple. For instance, you might simplify the way a box folds or avoid using black inks that recycling facilities don't recognise.

Understanding product life cycles

The time to focus on your packing components should only be taken when you are certain that your fundamentals are fully optimised for efficiency. This involves more than just switching out non-recyclable components for recyclable ones; to accurately assess an item's environmental impact, you must take into account its entire lifecycle. Once you are familiar with each step, you may optimise it for both price and performance and make sure that no step has unforeseen negative effects. The following are the major phases of the packaging lifecycle:

1. Material

The chosen raw materials should provide packaging with the appropriate functionality throughout its life cycle and be extracted with as little environmental effect as feasible. For instance, you might believe that choosing paper packaging is always more environmentally beneficial, but that is untrue if the characteristics of the paper cause product deterioration or decomposition, which leads to waste in the long run.

2. Manufacture

Here, it's important to take into account not only how much energy the manufacturing process uses, but also how sustainable the energy source is and any potential pollutants in the waste products that are produced.

Processing This stage is when your packaging starts to function as a tool for branding. Every aspect of this process, from the shape your packaging design takes to the inks, foils, and embossing that may comprise its final touches, needs to be carefully studied in order to maximise the impact for your business while causing the least amount of harm to the environment.

4. Distribution and logistics

Your packing storage and delivery methods should be as carbon-efficient as possible. For instance, shipping by water is more carbon-efficient than shipping by air. At Sourceful, we go one step further and offset the CO2 emissions of every shipment.

5. End of life

The choice taken at the beginning of the cycle will decide the ethical possibilities for packaging that has served its purpose, including recycling, reuse, energy recovery, and composting.

Practical application of theory: Floom

At Sourceful, we have experience creating environmentally friendly packaging. Before working with us, the online florist platform Floom put their bouquets in a sizable, universal box and taped it shut with thick polypropylene tape. We saw a chance to use as little material as possible when we evaluated the packaging needs from the ground up. For Floom, we designed two custom boxes that resulted in a 7% material and 15% cost savings. The need for the plastic tape was also eliminated when we found cardboard boxes with a self-adhesive strip and box zip. Customers need inventive design like this to be persuaded that sustainable options are actually superior to their current options and not just cheap knockoffs or compromises.

Sustainable solutions from Sourceful

We've come to the conclusion that we want to use the least amount of packaging feasible, so whatever we do make needs to be effective on a variety of levels. Sourceful is ready to assist you in striking the right balance when creating environmentally responsible packaging for your products that also serves to safeguard them from damage to the environment. At Sourceful, we work to make sure you are telling the story you desire with your packaging design. We have a history of providing a perfectly suited solution for each organisation we work with and are passionate about assisting businesses in becoming more successful. Because we have a thorough grasp of product lifecycles, we can pinpoint areas of your organisation where you and the environment can save money.

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